Thursday, January 28, 2010

Next Stop: Bangalore

I worked from home yesterday. My work laptop has an internal wireless card, and I have my cable modem hooked up to a wireless router so that I can work anywhere inside the house, or in the backyard if I so choose.

Yesterday afternoon, without warning, I completely lost my internet connection. I checked the modem and the router and both were working fine and sending strong signals (my wireless card even showed it as a strong signal). My home desktop PC connected to the internet perfectly fine. As a last resort, I checked with Thing 1. She has an iPod Touch, so I asked her if she was getting a signal.

"Thing 1, are you online right now? I can't connect to the internet," I said."

"Yeah, I'm online now and reading emails. Did you try turning it off and turning it back on?" she asked.

I stared blankly at her for a minute in disbelief, that she gave me the same suggestion dozens of IT specialists (literally) around the world (very literally) have given me for years, as a sign that they don't know what the hell to do to fix the problem.

"That's what I do when my iPod freezes up, it fixes it every time," she added.

Grumbling, I went back to my computer and fiddled around with it some more. By that, I mean I furiously hit the "connect" button next to my wireless connection. After 10 minutes, fed up, I shut everything down and rebooted. In minutes, my desktop was back up, and I received a signal that I have multiple wireless signals available (my neighbors all have wireless). I clicked on mine, and instantly it said "connected."

I couldn't believe it. An 11 year old girl provided the solution to my wireless problem. And it worked. I am fully expecting her to also tell me that my cables are too long, which is why my network is too slow. If that happens, I'm outsourcing to India for a new daughter. She will be beautiful, dark-skinned, have an insanely thick accent and answer to the name "Laura."


  1. She will also have hairy arms.

    Yeah, I always hate the tech support people and their scripts. I recently had to call one and told her what I had done to try to fix it already. She then proceeded to ask me to try the very three things I had already told her I had tried. She would not move on until I tried them. Of course then I just pretended I was doing what she was asking me to do. When she finally determined I need to do an exchange, they sent a return box for the wrong item.

    Thing 1 has already moved to middle management level. At this rate, she will be a CEO by the time she is out of Grad school.

  2. My girl showed me how to download clips off YouTube with a special program you can snaffle off the net. I was both impressed and pissed!!

    I hope Laura finds happiness and a successful career in Bollywood :D

  3. Ian, I once witnessed my brother on the phone with tech support while installing a wireless router. He told the person that he was in the profession (he's a network engineer), and he had to tell them 3 times before they finally started using "the big words."

    Nat, she will be in a cast of thousands!

  4. To be fair, there are a whole host of reasons why ‘Turn it off then on again’ should not only be the simplest way, but also the only way to fix a computer-related problem. It may sound like a copout, but it’s often the best thing to do in inexplicable cases like this.

    But it can be pretty depressing to have someone at the other end of what’s supposed to be a ‘help line’ who clearly knows even less than you do about a problem. A few months ago I had someone from British Telecom ringing up trying to persuade me to switch to using them as my ISP, and I had to correct him on a technical point. People who really know all there is to know about computer technology are far to valuable to have answering phones.